At present there are only three companies, which offer 250GB HDDs with 7,200rpm spindle rotation speed. They are Hitachi, Maxtor and Western Digital. By the way, the latter was exactly the one to open the era of a quarter-terabyte hard drives with 7,200rpom spindle rotation speed. As you remember, this spring Western Digital announced its WD2500JB HDD (see our article called Western Digital WD2500JB HDD: More than Drivezilla?!). Closer to the fall Maxtor MaxLine II HDDs started appearing in the mass market and not so long ago we managed to also get hold of Hitachi 7K250 solution.
Why don’t other hard disk drive manufacturers, such as Seagate and Samsung, offer HDDs with this attractive storage capacity? Especially since both these companies have 80GB platters at their disposal… As for Samsung, we know only one thing about their strategy in this market: the market will be conquered by 2005 :)
As for Seagate, we do know a little bit more about them. As is known the company has been sticking to dual-platter design for the desktop drives for the last few years. It allows reducing the production expenses for HDDs with low and medium storage capacity, which is very important for a company with a lot of orders. At the same time dual-platter design limits the maximum HDD storage capacity to 160GB, if the standard 80GB platters are used. Since Seagate did realize, how badly the market needed high capacity drives, they undertook a really unprecedented move: they added a 200GB drive to their 7200.7 HDD family. As you may have already guessed it is built of 2 platters 100GB each. These platters are an industry record today, but as you may also see it does not fit into the standard capacity scale: 20GB – 40GB – 60GB – 80GB. During the past years when the new HDD generation arrived the platters storage capacity grew 1.5-2 times higher. And the storage capacity of the new Seagate 100GB platter is only 25% higher than the industry’s standard 80GB platter. It means that 100GB platter is not the second generation platter for Seagate. Another thing proving this point is the fact that Seagate announced this 200GB HDD as a new model within the current Barracuda 7200.7 product line.
I had a very interesting conversation with a Seagate representative at the press conference on October 23, 2003. And he actually did confirm all the above described suppositions of mine. But, it is not the right moment to raise the curtain of mystery yet :)
Let’s return to our HDDs. In the today’s roundup we will compare 5 hard disk drives with 250GB storage capacity. Three of them support ATA interface and the remaining two – SerialATA interface. So, please meet our testing participants.